That Word came up again the other day, and the Blob was compelled once again to roll its metaphoric eyes and shake its metaphoric head. And then of course to shout angrily at the sky, because that's what Blobs do when they start getting up there in years.
That Word, just so you know, is "distraction."
Media in Sportsball World love this word, love to apply every time there's some controversy/suspension/other occurrence that doesn't have anything to do with normal Sportsball stuff. It's a contagion, they believe, that seeps into every clubhouse/locker room/organization on occasion, and when it does all those big, strong athletes, autocratic coaches and captains-of-industry owners are helpless against it.
Distraction happens when key players get suspended, the way Ezekiel Elliott just did. It's why Colin Kaepernick and other socially conscious athletes shouldn't express their beliefs on the sacred Sportsball field, and why Kaepernick suddenly can't find a job. Distraction interferes with winning, and winning is the bottom line in Sportsball World. It diminishes performance by making highly trained and conditioned athletes unable to function at peak capacity.
Why, just look how many catches Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will drop now that he's had to answer a few questions about Zeke Elliott's lack of maturity and focus.
That's what happened the other day, and Witten answered the questions, and then he likely headed out to practice. But I bet when he lined up for the snap, he was still thinking about Zeke. I bet he was thinking about Zeke so much he couldn't remember what his assignment was on a particular play. I bet he ran the wrong route a zillion times because he was thinking about Zeke.
Excuse me? You say that's just silly?
Well, of course it is. Which is why it's the Blob's firm belief the whole "distraction" thing is a unicorn, a mythological beast that lives largely in the fevered imaginations of the Sportsball media.
Let's look at Kaepernick, for instance.
It's become chic for those who don't want to admit he's being punished for his political beliefs to say the reason teams won't sign him is because he'd be a "distraction." This despite the fact former 49ers coach Chip Kelly is on record saying Kaepernick wasn't a distraction at all.
Apparently he got up at the beginning of the season and explained what he was going to do, and that was the end of it. He didn't keep talking about it in the locker room. He didn't try to divide the team. And the rest of the Niners, accordingly, shrugged and went about their business.
"We heard from the outside about what a distraction it is,” Kelly said. "Except those people aren't in our locker room and it never was a distraction. And Kaep never brought that and never turned it into a circus ... came to work every day, extremely diligent in terms of his preparation, in terms of his work ethic in the weight room, in terms of his work ethic in the meeting room."
Well, of course. This is how these deals tend to work, after all, in a reality-based world. The idea that some issue or other is going to impact the performance of professional athletes simply because they have to answer a few questions about it is ludicrous.
Yeah, they surely exist. But the "distractions" the media and outside world like to talk about?
Bigfoot is more real.